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Dino-mite! Prehistoric monsters invading Columbia

Dinosaurs will come roaring into the Colonial Life Arena this week.

And Raymond Carr will help them come alive.

Carr is the head of voodoo puppetry for "Walking with Dinosaurs" - a "live" show that features 17 moving and snarling life-size dinosaurs. He and his colleagues sit above the arena floor and use remote controls to make the dinosaurs move their heads, blink their eyes and let out a range of roars. (A driver inside each dinosaur's body moves the creature's legs.)

Carr's job is to help control the stegosaurus, the mother brachiosaurus and the young torosaurus as they stomp across the arena floor.

Carr has been working in the world of puppetry for years. He's been part of the "Walking with Dinosaurs" show for 11 months.

"I think you'd be hard-pressed to find any little boy who didn't grow up liking dinosaurs," he said.

But he didn't gravitate to the show because of a lifelong love of the creatures. Instead it was the show's scale and size that intrigued Carr.

"The sheer size of the production is breathtaking. All the dinosaurs are built to scale. It's something you can't imagine, you can't experience, until you're in the show with them and see how big they really are."

The learning process was the hardest part of the job, he said. The creatures are so large and intricate (each one costs about $1 million), and the show is so tightly choreographed, that there's little room for error, he said.

"Still, there are moments in the show that make me hold my breath."

Is it really loud?

"Yes," he said with a laugh. "Not all the time, but there are predators and herbivores. ... They're making a ruckus the whole time."

Some of the dinosaurs are so large that when they walk, the sensors in their feet and speakers in the arena make it sound as if they are shaking the ground.

"All the dinosaurs have their own sounds and roars and calls, their own language," he said. "And it's all timed out to music."

- Megan Sexton

IF YOU GO

What: A "live" theatrical show featuring 17 roaring, snarling dinosaurs

Where: Colonial Life Arena

When: Wednesday-Sunday

Times: 7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $19.50-$59.50. Tickets can be purchased at coloniallifearena.com, by phone at (866) 472-8499, at the Colonial Life Arena box office or at Lexington and Columbia Play it Again Sports locations. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more: (803) 576-9078

Dinosaurs: The 17 dinosaurs in the show include a plateosaurus, a stegosaurus, an allosaurus, a brachiosaurus, an ornithocheirus, an ankylosaurus, a torosaurus, a Tyrannosaurus rex, a baby T-rex, utahraptors and a liliensternus. The largest is the adult brachiosaurus, 36 feet tall and 56 feet long. The Tyrannosaurus rex is 23 feet tall and 42 feet long.

Also:

- The show lasts 96 minutes, including an intermission. There is no violence, but there are simulated earthquakes, volcanoes and comets hitting the Earth, along with the loud roars of dinosaurs.

More information: dinosaurlive.com

Video preview from dinosaurlive.com:

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